The word "double" is mentioned surprisingly often in this play, beginning almost immediately. Here, for instance, is a passage that presents Macbeth and Banquo as partners (partners, of course, who will later be separated in various significant ways). Duncan is asking about opposition from the enemy; the segeant is reporting how Banquo and Macbeth coped with such opposition:
- Duncan. Dismay'd not this
Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?
- Sergeant. Yes;
As sparrows eagles, or the hare the lion.
If I say sooth, I must report they were
As cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they
Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe:
Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds,
Or memorise another Golgotha,
I cannot tell.
But I am faint, my gashes cry for help. [emphasis added]
Later, their differences will become far more significant than their similarities.